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Bridgeport Engine: Worth the Wait

Single-cylinder Bridgeport engine is rescued from Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains

| August/September 2012

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    Paul Luckman first encountered this single-cylinder Bridgeport while deer hunting on Raquette Lake.
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    The eccentric rod connected to the water pump.
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    The piping to and from the cylinder head for cooling.
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    The Bridgeport nameplate.
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    The original Schebler carburetor still on the Bridgeport engine.

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Bridgeport Gasoline Marine Engines
Bridgeport Motor Co., Bridgeport, Conn.
HP: 5-1/2
RPM: 450
Bore: 5-1/4-inch
Stroke: 5-1/2-inch
Balance wheel dia.: 17 inches
Crankshaft dia.: 1-3/4-inch
Height above crankshaft center: 21-1/2 inches
Weight: 415 pounds
Propeller dia.: 16-20 inches
Boat length: 17-30 feet

While deer hunting at the north end of Raquette Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York state in November 1962, I happened upon two boats sitting on some rather rustic cradles in the woods near the lake. One was a daggerboard sailboat, the other a skiff approximately 20 feet long, pointed at each end somewhat like a canoe, with an inboard single-cylinder engine. “WOW!” I had to see more of that.

After digging out years of accumulated leaves and twigs, as well as some rodent work, I found the engine appeared intact with a brass tag that identified it as a Bridgeport engine.

Although I knew nothing about it, I had to have it! The following fall I was lucky enough to locate the owner of the property, a gentleman named Burt D. Hawks. Burt said that both boats had been adrift at different times and were rescued by him, but no one had ever claimed either one. He thought that the powerboat had been the mail boat on the lake at one time. However, at that time he did not feel that they were his to sell. Although disappointed, I left my name and address but did not expect I would ever hear from him.

Sometime in the summer of 1968, I got a note from Mr. Hawks saying that because of his age he planned to sell his property on the lake. Also at this time he would sell the boats, as no one had claimed either one. He felt that for his time and trouble of saving them he should receive the reward of $50 each.

I promptly sent him a check and a note. Within a week or two I received another note saying to go ahead and get the powerboat or any parts off it as I wished.


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